Warm weather triggers early allergies in East Tennessee

LENOIR CITY (WATE) – While many people love the warmer weather and are using it to spend some time outdoors, they are also feeling the effects. The unseasonably warm temperatures are causing trees and other plants to bloom, and that means an early start to allergy season.

“They go out and play. I have to keep an eye on them because they have allergies to so many things outside,” said Lenoir City resident Carolyn Willis.

To be able to have fun in the sun, the family gets allergy shots. The family got their shots Monday at the Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center in Lenoir City. Allergist Dr. Karthik Krishnan says he’s seen more patients than normal lately.

“The last couple weeks we had people coming in saying their nose has been bothering them more than usual this time of year,” said Dr. Krishnan.

He says the trees are starting to pollinate sooner than usual. “Normally they will start pollinating in mid-March because it’s so warm the trees are starting to pollinate,” said Dr. Krishnan.

The pollen is causing allergy symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and congestion.

“If you’re at home you can start with an antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra – something like that,” said Dr. Krishnan.

You should keep in mind that these antihistamines don’t take care of congestion.

“The single best medicine to help with congestion are nose sprays, like Flonase, Nasacort, Rhinocort,” said Dr. Krishnan.

If these don’t help, Dr. Krishnan says to see an allergist. They can find out what you’re allergic to and find a treatment.

“In the long run allergy shots are our best option because it’s treating the underlying problem which is the immune system over reacting to pollens,” said Dr. Krishnan.

The shots have helped Willis. She no longer suffers each allergy season.

“Now that I’m taking my allergy shots I don’t get near as bad,” said Willis.

Dr. Krishnan say it’s going to be a long allergy season. Right now those with allergies are suffering from tree pollen. Later in the spring it will be grasses causing problems. Late summer we’ll feel the effects of weed pollen. The allergist says it is best to start the antihistamines a couple weeks before the start of allergy season but obviously this year, the season started surprisingly early.

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